Green’s Dictionary of Slang

layout n.

1. an achievement, an activity.

[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 223: A man who appears well-dressed in the street, succeeds in business or in a venture, is said to have made ‘a splendid layout.’.

2. in senses of a set, a display.

(a) a set of equipment or clothes.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 60: I’ve got the front – meaning my layout of togs.

(b) the table, dice, cards etc required for setting up a gambling club, whether legitimate or as a prop for a confidence trick.

[US]J.H. Green Reformed Gambler 229: The beautiful ivory checks, and velvet ‘lay out,’ also help to ornament the faro table; their cards, too, are prepared in a manner to carry out their wily schemes.
[US]W.B. Dick Amer. Hoyle (1866) 456: He deals out two [cards], one at a time, and places them side by side upon the table, with their faces up. This is called the ‘lay-out’ and upon these cards the players place their bets [DA].
[US]Galaxy (N.Y.) July 59: The universal American game is ‘faro’ [...] There is, first, the large massive table covered with green cloth, and on it, occupying less than half its surface, is the ‘lay-out,’ which is a full suit of cards, from the ace to the king, painted in a parallelogram.
[US]K. Munroe Golden Days of ’49 26: A white man who doesn’t know a monte lay-out from a checker-board.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 15 Jan. 7/5: [He] has made himself a faro lay-out; where we all play on Sunday afternoons.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 177: He wanted to put all the layouts out of business.
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Intermittent Fusser’ in Ade’s Fables 53: He looked over the Lay-Out and decided that it was just as easy to mingle with the Face Cards as to sleep in the Discards.
[US]Leavenworth Echo (WA) 16 Jan. 4/3: Everything in my place is run to give you a square deal [...] I got the only ‘layout’ in the state.
[US](con. mid-19C) H. Asbury Sucker’s Progress 257: When he wasn’t operating his own bank he was bucking the tiger from the other side of the layout.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 11: Ben Marks [...] had quite an extensive layout at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 180: In the front center of the room was the roulette layout.

(c) any form of display, e.g. a showman’s stall.

[US]C. White Sausage Makers 4: I’m getting up a few extras for some Aldermen and Members of Congress, and want to have a big lay out.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 8 Sept. 2: Who may never have seen such a lay-out.
[US]Saginaw Courier-Herald 4 July n.p.: A fine layout of fruits and vegetables at C. Rimmele’s, 122 North Hamilton [DA].
[US]Stock Grower and Farmer 26 Apr. 3/1: Mr. Armour’s daughters must have struck their pa for a new layout of spring clothes and somebody had to be squeezed [DA].
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 71: I landed two cracksmen with a big lay-out of furs.
[US]Van Loan ‘Loosening Up of Hogan’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 157: The National Commission never had as swell a layout [i.e. a feast] as this.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 266: Many who had Homes of their own touched the Layout lightly.
[UK]J.B. Booth Sporting Times 266: Now Joe Dillon’s ‘lay-out’ took [...] a strongly pugilistic complexion.
[US]Schindler in Hamilton Men of the Und. 52: The instant his eyes fell upon his ‘lay out’ of gold.

(d) (US und.) the tools used for counterfeiting.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 10 Jan. 3/3: The detectives [...] had no idea that they would be rewarded by finding a complete counterfeiting ‘lay-out’ [...] everything necessary for the manufacture of silver coins [...] dies, battery, retort, lathe, and, in fact, a complete ‘coney’ outfit .

3. (US) a plan, a scheme.

[UK]A.K. McClure Three Thousand Miles through the Rocky Mountains 211: A ‘Lay-out’ is any proposed enterprise, from organizing a State to digging out a prairie dog.
St. Louis Republic (MO) 8 Jan. 13/3: You misrepresented the value of this here layout.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 52: I’ll knock em dead with this layout.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 341: He claims that Mr. Brock’s layout is the buffalo’s beard and a fool and his money is soon divorced.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 162: I crept over, among the second-class passengers, got hold of my sweetheart, and told him the lay-out.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 89: Let’s just have a run-through, to see that you’ve got the lay-out straight.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 143: layout [...] the plan for a proposed crime.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 122/2: Layout, n. [...] 2. The detailed plan of the site of an intended crime.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 807: layout – The full details of a crime.

4. (US) an association of persons, such as a gang or team.

[US]Overland Monthly (CA) III 128: Several persons in our ‘lay-out’ (i.e., our company) in New Mexico ‘swapped’ good American horses for mustangs.
[US]Louisiana Democrat (Alexandria, LA) 2 Oct. 2/3: US Marshall Packard, big he-boss of the whole layout and other small fry.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Defence of Strikerville’ in From First To Last (1954) 12: We’re about twenty-five strong [...] and there wasn’t forty cents Mex in the layout.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 290: He could do it easily enough [...] by sending them a letter, or even telephoning the names and addresses of the whole layout.
[US]‘Paul Cain’ Fast One (1936) 209: The whole layout is against you now - Crotti, Rose, Fenner, the Bellman people . . .
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.

5. (US) an apartment, a house, or any place.

[UK]A.K. McClure Three Thousand Miles through the Rocky Mountains 219: They get up a most expensive ‘layout’ for him [DA].
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Little Speck in Garnered Fruit’ in Voice of the City (1915) 46: Are there any peaches in this layout?
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 38: This is the layout where that queer alarm goes off every twenty minutes.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 2: Hope you appreciate this $50-a-day layout.
[US](con. 1920s) Dos Passos Big Money in USA (1966) 782: This layout sure makes me feel envious.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 59: The way that skull, Hitler, and his Johns are kicking the gong around in the layout across the drink.
R. Callahan Killers Don’t Care n.p.: They lead us into Merilli’s private apartment, which is a swanky layout.
[UK]I, Mobster 84: He’d taken to living in a crazy layout up at the Waldorf.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 23: After a week my hustler uncle brought Steve to visit us, and to case the lay out.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 100: Her pussy’s in my face, he thought, and I’m still casing the layout.

6. in drug uses [the relevant ‘kit’ is ‘laid out’ in front of the user before use].

(a) an opium den.

[US]W. Norr Stories of Chinatown 37: He had had a number of invitations to smoke at various layouts.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 390: The Dog had started in my flat one of the most prosperous yen-hok layouts this side of San Francisco.
[US](con. 1910s) G. Fowler Schnozzola 23: Chuck Connors brought sightseers to the Chinatown maze in the early mornings to show them opium layouts.
[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 33: It [i.e. a book] dealt with smugglers and Chinese junks and opium dens in Shanghai, posh layouts with cushions on the floor and naked or half-naked women and men lying about.

(b) (drugs, also hop layout) the various accoutrements – pipe, box, needle etc – required for smoking opium.

[US]H.H. Kane Opium Smoking 51: I had [...] purchased a full ‘lay-out’.
[US] ‘Life in a New York Opium Den’ in T. Byrnes Professional Criminals of America [Internet] The ‘lay-out’ consisted of an ordinary little tin waiter, a knitting-needle flattened at one end and gradually receding to a point at the other, which he called a yen hock, a little glass lamp of peculiar pattern, a wet sponge in a china dish, a small tin dish to deposit cigarette stumps or ashes, and a pipe of very curious construction. A small clam-shell contained a black, tarry-looking stuff, and this was the opium.
[US]N.Y. Times 28 Sept. 2: Eleven pipes, 15 bowls, 8 pots, and 5 boxes of opium, 6 ‘lay outs,’ 4 trays, scales, 2 revolvers, and $82 in money were seized.
[US]C.R. Wooldridge Hands Up! 215: A ‘layout’ can be purchased for any amount up to $5. It consists of the ‘yen hop,’ or pipe, usually made of a section and a half of heavy bamboo, about an inch and a half in diameter, and is usually tipped with ivory or gold; the ‘yen she gow,’ or small chisel, for cleaning out the bowl of the pipe; the ‘yen hock,’ or needle, on which the opium is cooked and rolled into pills over the flame from the little peanut oil lamp; the ‘sui gow,’ a sponge for cleaning the bowl of the pipe after every smoke; the ‘hen toy,’ in which the opium is kept, and a tray on which the above utensils are placed when in use.
[US]Amer. Mag. 77 June 31–5: When I became a regular smoker I bought a ‘layout’ — pipe, bowls, lamp, tray, yen hocks, everything — and indulged my habit in the ‘joint’ of a white smoker where I was a favored patron.
[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 115: In the center of the room is the yen she quai, an old Chinese who deals out your layout and cards and takes your money.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 191: An old Chinaman [...] shuffled by me hastily with a hop layout and spread it in a near-by bunk.
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 115: This particular outfit, or ‘layout,’ consisted of six bowls and four stems, three small traveling lamps that burned peanut oil, a dozen yen hoks, (like a crochet hook, but finer and more flexible, used for preparing the opium pill) and three yen shee gows, steel instruments for removing the yen shee or ash from the inside of the bowl.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 104/1: hop lay-out. An opium smoker’s layout.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 98: I eased down [...] until the opium layout was right square in my chops.
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 311: lay-out. The equipment used by an opium smoker.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore 85: Hop layout – The equipment or outfit of an opium smoker.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 140: layout [...] opium-smoking equipment.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 342: layout: [...] 2. Equipment for smoking opium.

(c) the syringe, cotton etc required for injecting a narcotic.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 17: The table was littered with the layout of a drug victim.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 105/1: lay-out. [...] the hypodermic and all accessories.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 342: layout: 1. Works.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 14: Lay-out — Equipment for taking drugs.

7. a situation, the facts.

[US]J.H. Beadle Undeveloped West 103: Sammy Richards had [...] ‘the softest layout in the business.’.
[US]Anaconda Standard (MT) 15 Dec. 10/1: ‘Bum? Well, I should say it was bum, It’s the toughest layout I ever seen’.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 300: There’s the lay-out. Not a pleasant outlook, certainly; and not worth attempting arrests.
[US]C.S. Montanye ‘White as Snow’ in Detective Story 18 Feb. [Internet] Don’t try to rush the game by slipping the bracelets on before you’re wise to the layout!
[US]‘Paul Cain’ ‘One, Two, Three’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2006) 5: The whole layout looked pretty bad.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 2: So there you have the layout.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 206: ‘You think you’ll be anting the Zephyr tomorrow?’ ‘I can’t tell yet [...] I don’t know what the lay-out is.’.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 122/2: Layout, n. [...] 4. The general state of affairs; the prevailing conditions.

8. (Aus.) the components of a drink, e.g. whiskey and water, brandy and soda.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 14 Sept. 6/4: The officer who examined the room said ‘Whisky’ and hunted for the lay-out, which he could not find.

9. a meal, a ‘spread’.

[US]O. Kildare Good of the Wicked 16: Therefore it was determined to celebrate [...] ‘Give them the finest “lay-out” ever, and in the back room!’ [Ibid.] 21: I guess, most o you people ain t had what you may call a regular Christmas dinner in some time. Anyway, I don t think you ever had anything like this lay out in your lives [...] and I hope you won t tackle it the same as if it was a beefstew in Cheap John’s.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 20: A table where there was a hungry man’s layout of clam fritters, canned corn, boiled potatoes and hot mince pie.

In phrases